By the Numbers: The Importance of Growth

It seems we spend our lives looking at numbers. We are con- stantly watching inventory accuracies, productivity, safety scores and quality scores to name a few on the operations side of the house. On the financial side, we are calculating ROI for CAPEX projects, profitability of each account, and monitoring our income statements and
balance sheets.

This focus on numbers is summed up in the old adage, “You cannot manage what you don’t measure.” And what are our warehouse logistics businesses if they are not a numbers game?

  • We have X number of square feet of warehouse space.
  • We have X number of clients. And we need X number more to achieve maximum efficiency/capacity.
  • We have X number of employees now, but we’ll need X number as the holiday season approaches or to handle future growth.

Numbers paint pictures for us, as business owners and executives. We need to assess what these numbers mean to project for the future and to communicate trends and expectations.

In much the same way, the International Warehouse Logistics Association lives and dies by its numbers:

  • How many warehouse members are there?
  • How many partner members have renewed?
  • How many prospects can we reach/convert?
  • What percentage of members are engaged in IWLA offerings?
  • Can we get 10 percent more members involved in our government affairs and advocacy efforts to ensure maximum impact?

I know that my position as chairman allows me to take a closer look at all of the IWLA numbers on behalf of all of us. IWLA is a business investment for you, your company, and your employees. We strive to be good stewards of your dues to ensure a good return. You joined the association with certain expectations. A strong association allows for better representation of the entire warehouse logistics industry with regulators and legislators. A strong association allows for more value – new, expanded programs, products and services – to be added to your membership benefits. A strong association commands more respect in the broader supply chain.

IWLA is coming off a great year fi- nancially. Our convention and educational meetings are popular with members (and nonmembers). We are watching our expenses closely. We’ve attracted more members than ever to the IWLA Insurance Company. And even some of our new investment protocols are paying off.

But to maintain a vibrant association, we need to truly represent the majority of the industry. While we have a stable membership core, there are many warehousing companies – large and small – that, for whatever reason, choose not to support the only trade association expressly for warehouse-based 3PLs. We are on pace to have our first net membership gain in several years versus just being stable. But we need to work a little harder and smarter in this area to sustain this momentum.

Our focus right now is remedying this situation. IWLA has launched or is launching membership-drive cam- paigns. We are identifying, recruiting and activating ware- housing companies that are not participating. Watch your email for more information about how you can help – and earn some incentives.

And, you’ll be seeing a lot of another number in the coming months: IWLA will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2016. Many fun things are planned that you won’t want to miss. Join me in watching the numbers, and in celebrat- ing the big 125.

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